Past can reveal reasons for decline
The fool has said in his heart "there is no God ..." (Psalm 53:1). When you remove God from public life, prayer out of schools and Christ out of Christmas, then "absolutes" are gone, lines are blurred, values are situational, ethics are elusive, society is in decline, chaos prevails, anarchy reigns and destruction is inevitable.
In 1788, Edwin Gibbon completed his monumental work, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," in which he listed the following as several of the reasons for that fall:
The rapid increase of divorce. ... the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home -- the basis of human society.
Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.
The mad craze for pleasure.
The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy, the decadence of people, was within.
The decay of religion.
Are there lessons here for us in 2012? Wake up before destruction comes!
PAUL A. RITCH
Coupon sales benefit students
A letter (Sept. 11) questioned where the proceeds from the Kids First Coupon Book program actually go. I've coordinated my school's sale for nine years and can answer that.
We send the Fund for Excellence $3 for each book we've sold to cover expenses (incentives, for instance) and other programs the FFE supports.
The remaining $7 is deposited into a line item in the school's budget, which is thoroughly audited annually, to purchase essentials and "extras" not otherwise funded. Depending on the school's needs and resources, the proceeds might buy ink for printers or an interactive smartboard for a classroom, library books or playground equipment. It might supplement what parents can pay for field studies tied to classroom curriculum, enabling students to see the world outside their classroom.
But $14 million over 25 years, divided amongst the many schools in the system, doesn't go nearly far enough. I do know it doesn't go into anyone's pockets, though -- it goes into educating the children of Hamilton County.
Please buy a coupon book or two for yourselves, watch your savings pile up, and enjoy knowing you've helped a local elementary school provide a better learning experience for its students.
What we need is honest reporting
The Supreme Court ruled on Stolen Valor. They indicated it conflicted with the First Amendment. So people can still masquerade as phony heroes.
There's a more important conflict with the First Amendment: TV talking heads and their colleagues masquerading as journalists. The Fourth Estate has First Amendment protection. However, they fail to understand their responsibilities to the First Amendment. The press was given protection of free speech to provide us with objective knowledge of our government and elected officials. They've failed miserably in this responsibility. I'm not talking about MSNBC or Fox News. We know their reporting is slanted. We watch them to reinforce what we already believe to be true.
I'm referring to CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and NPR. Can anyone honestly say what they report, how they report it and what they don't report is objective? Do you think the verbiage, syntax and facial expressions convey an objective reporting of the news?
Examples: the racist slant to the Tarvon Martin case, the intense vetting of Republican candidates while giving the president a pass, reporting white on black crime but not black on white. The list goes on.
Regardless of your political persuasion, you should want honest and objective reporting on your government and the world around you.
VIRGIL R. SPERRY, LaFayette, Ga.
Prophet brought peaceful religion
Upon hearing the news about the recent attack on the consulate in Libya that killed four American diplomatic personnel, I was deeply saddened. Once again, we all witness the senseless reaction to a senseless action.
No doubt, the film insulting the Muslim's Holy Prophet Muhammad hurt the many followers of Islam around the world. But nothing can justify a violent crime like the one that occurred in Libya. This horrific incident gives the world the wrong image about all Muslims, including the majority who live peaceful lives.
It is high time that we all realized how to respect each other's beliefs. Like the recent Sikh temple incident, what occurred in Libya is an example of lack of tolerance. There is not a religion in the world that teaches hatred. We need to start from our homes, teaching our children about the importance of accepting the beliefs of others.
As a Muslim, with all of the terrible incidents that are occurring in the name of Islam nowadays, I do not know which words to use to explain to the world that the religion that the Prophet Muhammad brought was peaceful. What the so-called "Islamic extremists" are doing is not Islam to any extent.
KHOLA HUMAYUN, Tunnel Hill, Ga.
Remove eyesore from the river
Regarding your story (Sept. 12) "Tourism chief calls for new infrastructure": I find it ironic that Bob Doak (and others) who claim to be so concerned about the promotion of Chattanooga's riverfront can't seem to figure out a way get rid of the hideous eyesore currently docked across from Ross's Landing. Alan Casey's barge has been a scab on Chattanooga's beautiful waterfront for three years and appears to be falling into further disrepair with each passing day.
I understand "management" of this issue falls under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers, but can't somebody in city government please figure out a way to work with them to either get this project started, or better, get this ridiculous thing moved? It's my understanding the thing was never properly permitted, currently violates multiple Army Corps/TVA regulations, causes multiple problems for the adjacent property owner, and is still sinking.
I've got a friend who lives further down the river who built a small dock without a permit, and our "officials" found out within a single day of its completion and have spent more time giving him a hard time than they have to this giant, ugly barge.
MATT McLELLAND, Lookout Mountain
Obama abuses the Constitution
Washington is oblivious to the damage of federal programs; the $800 billion stimulus did nothing except reward Obama's voter base. President Obama swore to faithfully execute the nation's laws, now picks those he likes, and chooses executive order and fiat. He sees no need for Congress' approval or the upholding of our Constitution.
Obama's "buzz words" in 2008 were "hope and change." America got political spin, class warfare, subversion of the legislative branch, political payoffs to his special interest and voter groups, and $4 trillion more in national debt.
Americans will follow a leader who leads from the front; you can only earn leadership by telling the truth. It is not bestowed on you ... you must earn it.
JOHN K. ARNEY, Signal Mountain
Obama hasn't started the job
Bill Clinton says "Let Obama finish the job."
Come on, Bill, you can't finish a job you haven't started.
CHARLES ELSEA, Rossville
Re-elect president and lose liberty
Twenty-five years ago, we had Ronald Reagan, Johnny Cash and Bob Hope.
Today we have Obama, no cash and no hope.
If this president is re-elected, we will lose our liberty in less than four years.
His plans are very destructive.
The Democratic Convention was a circus as usual.
Its two main speakers -- Mr. Clinton's a felon -- and the other -- President Obama -- would be if he ran a private company the way he is running the U.S. government.